Lookin’ Fly : Cactopia #1

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Good Monday morning to you!  And happy St. Pat’s day, if you’re into that sort of fun.  While I’m no fan of drunken green-beer debauchery, I could definitely go for some corned beef and cabbage at any given moment.  What about you?  Traditions in the works?


So I think it’s actually still a little early to start talking about cactus blooms, but I’ve been out and about this past week and have spotted some of the most gorgeous flowers and couldn’t resist.  Cactus bloom season is amazing.  The flowers around these parts are so intricate and wildly colorful and they pretty much beat the pants off anything you’ll see anywhere else in the world.  So now that that’s settled, away we go.


Clockwise from top left:


Argentine Giant – Seriously, how can you beat that?  Can you even imagine that a flower of this size (up to 7″ across) pops out of a regular old cactus?  It’s completely insane.  And they come in an assortment of fabulous colors like white, light pink, salmon, and yellow.  I’m willing to replace everything in the yard with thousands of these cactus just to experience the week or two that they bloom.


I don’t know what this is, please tell me! – I spotted this at the Mission San Xavier last weekend.  I think it’s fair to say that this is the most magical flower I have ever seen, ever.  Look at that bright orange with the pale yellow and the medium pink bits and a splash of perfect green in the middle!  It’s wondrous.  I honestly can’t stand how amazingly lovely this flower is.  In my next life I want to be this flower.  So if you can identify it, I will be indebted to you forever.


Aloe (vera?) –  Oops, not actually a cactus.  But still pretty, and nearly unmatched as far as toughness and reproductive ability go (they make tons of new plants each year, so after one initial plant you’ll quickly end up with a large clump).  I love pairing aloe with yellow barrel cactus, orange globemallow, “dinner plate” prickly pear, and palo verde trees.  I’m totally drawn to orange + yellow + green color palettes, and aloe does a nice job of tying it all together (comes with both yellow and orange flowers).


Purple Prickly Pear – The big prickly pear flower show is just about to start, and this guy is on the early end of things.  Such a nice monochromatic yellow set against the purple of the cactus pads.  The crazy thing about these flowers is that they open for just one day!  Such a brief moment of beauty.  That’s the great thing about cactus – they’re not just going to give you a free show for months on end.  You have to wait it out, get your timing right, and savor the moment when it comes up.  It’s so worth it.


Have a great day, comrades.  See you back here tomorrow for some adventures in pruning (oooo, exciting!).



1 Comment
  1. Regarding your mystery plant… Hard to tell without seeing the rest of the plant but maybe Echinocereus triglochidiatus.?

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